Brendan Fraser Was Sexually Assaulted And It Nearly Ended His Career: "I Was Blaming Myself, I Was Miserable"

Brendan Fraser Was Sexually Assaulted And It Nearly Ended His Career: "I Was Blaming Myself, I Was Miserable"

There were many speculations about his sudden and unexplained absence from the entertainment industry but all of them were far from his truth.

Cover Image Source: Brendan Fraser of the television show "Condor" speaks onstage during the AT&T AUDIENCE Network 2018 Winter TCA on January 11, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images for DIRECTV)

Brendan Fraser got his first acting break in the 1992 cult film Encino Man, but his first box office hit was the 1997 comedy flick George of the Jungle.  Fraser was the driving force behind the success of blockbusters like Looney Tunes: Back in Action, The Mummy, and of course the Oscar-winning movie Crash. It didn't take him long to establish a place in the list of Hollywood's biggest stars. However, after 2008 he stopped appearing in any major role and had largely disappeared from the screen for the most part. 


There were many speculations about his sudden and unexplained absence from the entertainment industry. While some suspected that it was due to an illness or drugs. others posted memes about Fraser being caught up in a sex scandal. Some news outlets even speculated that his poor choice of films was responsible for his career dip. However, none of these claims were accurate. Recently, the Bedazzled actor came forward with a shocking revelation about his private life that led him to take a step back from his high-profile lifestyle. 


During an interview with GQ, he opened up about an incident of sexual harassment. The incident took place in the Beverly Hills Hotel during a luncheon held by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization that hosts the Golden Globes, in the summer of 2003. As Fraser was on his way out, a former president of the HFPA Philip Berk approached him. In the crowded room, Berk reached out to shake Fraser's hand and in jest "pinched" Fraser's buttocks. But according to Fraser, it was much worse than that what Berk had recounted in his memoir. "His left-hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around," he recalled of the troubling moment when he was overcome with fear and panic.


Eventually, he was able to push away Berk's hand but the uneasiness he felt stuck with him. "I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry," he confessed. When he informed the HFPA about it, an internal investigation was launched. However, Berk denied these claims saying, "Mr. Fraser's version is a total fabrication." Fraser says when the investigation had ended, he was asked to issue a joint statement that read: "Although it was concluded that Mr. Berk inappropriately touched Mr. Fraser, the evidence supports that it was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a sexual advance." Of course, the actor declined to sign the joint statement, saying, "I don't get the joke."


Fraser began burying his feeling and noted that the experience made him "retreat and feel reclusive."  However, that changed when he was watching the 2018 Globes in a hotel room. He saw actors wearing Time's Up solidarity pin and actresses wearing black clothes with Berk also there. "Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely," he shared. Ever since speaking out about his truth, Fraser had been flooded with love and support for his courage. Fraser, who was once a target of jokes, had now become a symbol of hope and inspiration for people who may have undergone something similar.


Even actor Terry Crews supported him publically and shared how he experienced a similar incident a few years ago. Brendan is amazingly courageous in telling this. His assault experience is extremely similar to mine — ending with the assailant explaining away his actions. One man's 'horseplay' is another man's humiliation, Crews wrote. In a world where most victims of sexual assault and harassment feel shame in speaking out, men like Fraser and Crews are paving a path for others like them to courageously speak their truth. 



Disclaimer: If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)

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